Most life coaching sessions are between you and one other person. But what about when you provide life coaching services for couples in need of relationship help? As a life coach, your goals in these scenarios might focus on relationship management, cooperation, and mutual understanding.
Today, let’s break down what it’s like to provide life coaching services for couples.
Assessing Relationship Needs and Goals
Every relationship is different. Therefore, one of your primary services as a couples life coach is to assess the needs and goals of each relationship (which may or may not be what the clients themselves claim!). Consider, for example, that couples can be at many different stages in their relationship.
One couple might need you to provide premarital counseling and coaching to determine whether they should really tie the knot. Another couple might need life coaching help so they can balance their career goals with the modern challenges of parenting. Yet another couple might have completely different life coach needs – they may want to open their relationship to another partner, for instance.
In all these situations, your goal as the life coach is to:
- Identify the strengths and areas for improvement between both partners and within the relationship itself
- Set mutual, shared goals that both partners can work toward
Lots of the time, couples visit life coaches because they need help visualizing or understanding what they need to do to improve. With your unique skill set, you’ll be well-positioned to provide this important assistance and get couples back on track to a better future in no time.
Communication Skills and Strategies
Most relationship problems aren’t caused by some irreversible flaw – they’re due to miscommunications. Therefore, as a couples life coach, you’ll heavily focus on helping couples develop healthy communication skills and strategies.
For example, you might teach one couple how to practice active listening: the art of actively absorbing what someone has to say without immediately trying to put in your own words when they are finished speaking. Active listening is a great technique for couples in crisis and for everyday communication or conversation (it’s something you’ll have to practice as a life coach, as well).
Another couple might have difficulty seeing where each partner is coming from. To solve this, you might teach both partners in a given couple how to empathize with each other’s struggles. You might ask a husband what he’s doing around the house to help his wife feel loved and supported, for instance, and you might ask a wife whether she appreciates what her husband does at work.
Above all else, you’ll help couples realize that they communicate differently and oftentimes express their needs differently, as well. You might break down the different love languages – which include gift giving, quality time, touch, acts of service, and words of affirmation – or help couples create and maintain a shared communication format that they both understand and benefit from.
Conflict Resolution Techniques
Depending on the unique goals or issues facing your client couples, you’ll have to leverage many different conflict resolution techniques as a couples life coach. But you also must remember that each couple will face specific, unique challenges, so you’ll need to tailor your resolution techniques to each couple’s needs.
Say that you are working with a couple dealing with the challenge of infidelity on the part of one or both partners. For that couple, you might benefit from teaching each member to recognize and manage triggers for self-destructive or harmful behavior. You might also focus more on communicative conflict resolution techniques, like teaching each partner to listen to one another and voice their concerns respectfully and maturely.
All in all, your conflict resolution skills will need to evolve and adapt with each new couple you take on. Your day-to-day work as a couples life coach will always be varied and interesting!
Building Trust and Intimacy
Many couples struggle with building and keeping trust and intimacy, particularly after a betrayal like infidelity. One of your life coach challenges might be teaching couples how to grow emotional connections and open up or be vulnerable with each other once again.
In the long term, you might be tasked with helping partners learn how to support each other’s growth and individuality. Maybe, for instance, a wife wants to start a new career after the kids leave the house. The husband is initially reticent, so your job as the life coach is to ensure that both partners feel good about the wife’s new decision.
Building trust and intimacy takes time and may involve the use of several life coach exercises, like:
- Giving each partner a chance to express themselves
- Teaching the partners to communicate with each other
- Having the partners write each other letters
- And so on
Maintaining Relationship Progress
The longest-term couples sometimes have difficulty keeping the spark alive. Other couples might find it tough to progress despite being good matches. Life coaches like you could help these couples by:
- Showing them how to establish routines and rituals to ensure a consistent connection. For instance, you might recommend to a long-time married couple that they resume going on dates once per week
- Showing couples the importance of monitoring and celebrating relationship milestones, like anniversaries, birthdays, etc., which can become mundane and unimportant as time goes on
Every important thing in life requires maintenance, but lots of people forget to do that when it comes to their core relationships. As a life coach, you can remind people of this importance and give them the tools they need to actively maintain their relationships for long-term health and flourishing.
As you can see, life coaches can provide important benefits for married and other couples. With your strengths in communication and trust building, you’ll help people become stellar partners and overcome shared challenges.